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Banking

China’s banks shake off fear of foreign climes

Most have followed their clients’ businesses abroad. Now it’s time for them to learn the lesson of Alibaba’s listing in New York and become true international finance players.

Alibaba’s decision to list in New York rather than Hong Kong is a blow for the latter market and marks an important moment in the international development of Chinese companies. It also provides lessons that Chinese banks would do well to heed.

Alibaba is big, with a grey-market capitalization estimated at the top end at $250 billion. This would place it in the top-10 largest companies in the world, ahead of Wal-Mart, General Electric, Microsoft and IBM.

Banks lucky enough to win a role on its IPO when it eventually goes ahead will share a fee pool of up to $400 million. The six banks that look to have a seat at the table at the moment are Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, with not a Chinese bank in sight.

How the revenue is shared between these six banks remains something of a moot point and is to be determined at meetings in the coming weeks. It is also unclear as yet how the revenue will be distributed within the bookrunning banks.

Asia-based bankers have covered and coveted Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, for years.

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